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Almost every one accustomed to smoking, who has a
proper regard for the little courtesies of life, asks, before
he indulges in his propensity, if it may be offensive
to any. Suppose the same question were asked with
regard to swearing, by those who are disposed to indulge
in the luxury of blaspheming. There are times
when good taste is fearfully shocked by the introduction
of words and sentiments that should not be spoken by
the members of any circle; and, though not disposed to
claim for ourselves a very great measure of sanctity,
there are times when we have been offended — to use a
very mild term for the feeling — at expressions which
good manners should have suppressed, and good morals
should never have allowed to enter the mind of those
who uttered them. We think the time has gone by
when profanity is generally regarded as an essential
adjunct of wit, and that a story loses nothing of its
piquancy when the profanity is left out. It is very
offensive to have an obtrusive head, with an oath ever
between its teeth, thrust among decent people, and it is a
wonder that sensible men, themselves, who speak profanely
— and there are too many such — should not see
the probable disagreeable nature of it to those who
hear them, and suppress it. At least, they might preface


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their remarks with the question, “Is swearing
offensive to you?” If, as in nine cases out of ten where
the same question is asked about smoking, the answer
is in the negative, then the swearer can blaze away with
his anathemas and imprecations till the teeth of everybody
chatter to hear him. Many seem to swear unconsciously,
the oaths coming in as naturally as italic
words in the emphasis of conversation; and, like the
boy who declared that he did n't whistle in school —
that it whistled itself, they might give the same excuse
for it. There is something very unsatisfactory in
swearing, and after a man has indulged in his profane
stories, and has made crowds laugh by them, he feels,
when he gets by himself, that he has n't much to brag
of, after all, and that

“The atheist laugh 's a poor exchange
For Deity offended.”